Poll By the California Electric Transportation Coalition Shows Strong Demand for EVs

September 14, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

A recent poll by the California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC, Sacramento, CA) of over 900 new car buyers in the state shows a strong demand for reasonably priced electric vehicles. More than a third of new car buyers in California said that they would purchase zero emission electric vehicles if more of them were available in the showrooms and priced more closely to the prices of gasoline vehicles.The survey of 934 California new car buyers was part of a study entitled "The Current and Future Market for Electric Vehicles" and was conducted in July 2000 on behalf of CalETC. The survey has an error margin of only +/- three percent but it contradicts repeated statements by the auto industry that there is little or no consumer demand for electric vehicles. "This is the study the auto industry didn't want to see," says David L. Modisette, executive director of CalETC.Modisette goes on to state that "this study used the same research methodologies employed by the auto industry to identify markets for its gasoline vehicles. The results show that there is a very strong consumer market for electric vehicles in California, a demand automakers either don't want to believe or want to go away."According to the study, the annual consumer market for electric vehicles is between 12 and 18 percent of the new light-duty vehicle market in California. This equates to initial annual sales of approximately 151,200 to 226,800 electric vehicles, with figures expected to increase as fuel prices continue to soar and buyers begin to search for alternatives. Other key findings in the research are that car buyers want to be able to own their electric vehicles rather than lease them, and that they want the same options in their electric vehicles as in traditional gasoline vehicles. To become mainstream, electric vehicles need to be tailored to consumer tastes in size, features and functionality. "Consumers have indicated that they can deal with a contemporary electric vehicle's range limitations if pricing is reasonable," Modisette says, and he further believes that "the public clearly needs more information and education about EVs than has been available to date."